Peace Boat US speaks about Youth Education for the SDGS during the 62nd UN CSW Conference in March 2018

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

Mark Twain, “Innocents Abroad” 

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On March 13, Peace Boat US Director, Emilie McGlone, participated in a panel in a Parallel Event to the 62nd Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62). The panel, titled “Education for Sustainable Development: A Tool to Empower Rural Women and Girls” explored how education for sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of non-violence, and global citizenship can contribute to achieving peace and empowerment for all, and to improve dignity, respect and the overall living conditions for rural women and girls.

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IMG_8501Moderated by Dr. Liberato Bautista, Assistant General Secretary for the United Nations and International Affairs of the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church, the four panel members discussed their respective organizations in regards to utilizing education for the SDGs as a tool for rural women and girls to achieve sustainable development in their local communities..

Draft Flyer + Bios - CSW62 Event

LILY GRAY, Liaison Officer at UNESCO New York Office

“Traditional knowledge has been recognized as an important pillar of sustainable development.”

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is an ambitious, universal agenda, supported by all UN agencies, including the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to IMG_8507.JPGend poverty through sustainable development by the year 2030. To begin the panel discussion, Lily Gray, Liaison Officer at the UNESCO New York office, emphasized the importance of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) as a key element of quality education and a crucial enabler for global development. Ms. Gray discussed previous as well as ongoing initiatives taken by UNESCO to achieve the 2030 Agenda including: the UN Decade of ESD (2005 – 2014), the Global Action Program for Sustainable Development (2014 – 2019), and the annual UNESCO-Japan Prize on ESD which awards 3 individuals or groups $50,000 for impressive projects related to Education for Sustainable Development.

In reference to the empowerment of rural women and girls, Ms. Gray stressed the importance of sharing and strengthening “traditional knowledge”, or knowledge developed and embedded within the cultural traditions of indigenous, or local communities.

EMILIE MCGLONE, Director of Peace Boat US, ICAN Member

“It is important to bring the SDGs into local communities and to learn from their traditional practices to see how we can work towards a more sustainable future together.”

IMG_8517.JPGEmilie McGlone, Director of Peace Boat US, presented on the organization and its mission. Addressing questions such as: How does Peace Boat contribute to global peace and sustainability ? How can we be socially and environmentally responsible travelers?  How can we measure local impact ? 

Touching on the work Peace Boat does regarding disaster relief, the United People’s Alliance, and the Hibakusha Project, Ms. McGlone stressed the need for global peace and education. Appealing directly to the theme of the panel, Ms. McGlone explained the International Student Program which aims to increase access to peace education and conflict resolution training for young people from post-conflict regions. unnamed-2In addition to peace-building and  training, the international students programs have a strong focus on the Untied Nations Sustainable Development Goals and learn directly from the communities they visit throughout their time traveling with Peace Boat. This experiential learning is integral to the success of Peace Boat and international education. The ship, Ocean Dream, serves as a flagship for the UN SDGs with the Global Goals logo painted on the hull of the ship, and continuously promotes the SDGs in local communities while employing traditional learning and teaching. “When we dock in port,” said Ms. McGlone, “we are not there to teach, but rather to learn from the communities we visit.”

AKARI YAMADA, President of PPSEAWA USA

“Friendship is an undervalued commodity in this world.”

IMG_8523.JPGThe Pan-Pacific & Southwest Asia Women’s Association, celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, is known to be the only international women’s organization devoted to families, peace and understanding in the Pacific and Southeast Asia. Akari Yamada, head of the USA sector of the organization, discussed the the first part of PPSEAWA’s mission, friendship, and how it is integrated into different programs globally. Focusing on three projects, though making clear that there are many more, Ms. Yamada explained the work being done in Fiji, Thailand, and Indonesia to empower and strengthen women. From leadership training for marginalized girls in Fiji to the mission to ensure equitable access to life-skills learning in Thailand and quality education in Indonesia, PPSEAWA recognizes that “when we educate a girl, we educate a village.” The notion of education for all, especially rural women and girls, is more important now more than ever.

SAIONARA KÖNIG-REIS, Representative to the UN and Head of NY Office, Dianova International

“Women have so many talents, and often times their ambitions are taken away by the roles imposed on them by their communities.”

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Dianova International aims to implement advocacy initiatives to defend and promote a number of causes. Among these are gender equality and women’s empowerment in all areas. Ms. König-Reis focused two areas where Dionova International is implementing positive change: Chile and Nicaragua. In Chile, the organization is working to equip women to become teachers and role models. By emphasizing the need of capacity building and sustainability of programming, Dianova promotes women empowerment through teachings of an amalgamation of gender equality, peace, and citizenship.

In Nicaragua, Dianova is working to utilize basic facilities in rural areas for education purposes. In addition to empowerment, Dianova in Nicaragua aims to break gender norms, implement family involvement in SDG learning, teach basic life skills, and prevent teenage pregnancy among the rural youth.

While Ms. König-Reis had much to say regarding the work done by Dianova in South America, she ultimately let this video to do the talking.  Thank you to everyone who participated in the panel and we look forward to more partnerships towards reaching women and girls in rural areas with education for the SDGs.

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This post was written Shelby Moulton, Intern
Rutgers University Division of Global Affairs
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Peace Boat Interns Attend the 2018 ECOSOC Youth Forum

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This week Peace Boat US interns took part in the 2018 ECOSOC Youth Forum. Interns Gin and Zeynep attended a Youth Forum Side Event titled “Leaving No One Behind: A Lens of Practices that Strengthen Inclusivity in Poverty Alleviation”. During this conference styled presentation, DPI NGO Youth Representatives and other panelists engaged in a heavy IMG_2139dialogue concerning the importance of youth involvement in the area of policy making and poverty relief at the grassroots level. Afterword, the interns made their way towards the SDG Media Zone where they were able to attend a live broadcast in which various speakers shared their passion for the UN SDGs and the important ramifications that they have globally. Interestingly, during the broadcast, a special new partnership between SONY and the UN had been unveiled by actress Meghan Boone.

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Later in the week, Peace Boat US participated in the “Youth 4 Global Goals” event of the Youth Forum. The event was about the new game that AIESEC and UN Habitat have teamed up to launch together. The aim of this game is to raise awareness about SDGs and to demonstrate to the youth that anyone can contribute to the realization of the SDGs. The game revolves around all SDGs and their relation to SDG 11. The main mission is to create better cities while fighting typical urban challenges along the way. #UrbanAction

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This post was written by Gin Sanchez, Intern

Rutgers University Division of Global Affairs

 

Holocaust Remembrance Day at the United Nations: Diversity & Lessons to be Learned for Human Understanding

This Thursday, January 25, the Peace Boat interns attended the second UN DPI/NGO (Department of Public Information/Non-Governmental Organizations) briefing of 2018. This week’s topic was titled ‘Holocaust Remembrance: Diversity and Lessons to be Learned for Human Understanding’. The talk included four guest speakers: Sarah Kaidanow of the Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center, Evelyn Sommer from the World Jewish National Congress North America, David J. Michaels of B’nai B’rith International, and Jason Sirois from the Anti-Defamation League.

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This event focused on the ways to continue educating young people about the Holocaust. Regarding Holocaust education, the Secretary General has laid out two guidelines: to remember the systematic attempt to eliminate Jews during the Holocaust and remaining ever watchful of the dark clouds on the horizon. All four of the speakers provided their different insights about new, innovative ways to engage youth with the realities of the Holocaust and similar political themes. They all showed a great faith in the power of social media and the ease of access it creates for education on a multitude of issues. “You have to choose to be ignorant,” said Sarah Kaidanow. The most poignant of the social media campaigns discussed today was the #WeRemember movement by the World Jewish National Congress. This movement has reached upwards of 250 million people at all levels of society, even including Secretary General António Guterres. The represented organizations also all believe in the strength and power behind initiatives to humanize and preserve the stories of Holocaust survivors. As Jason Sirois put it, “it comes down to remembering the Holocaust, remembering how we got to where we are today, and focusing on the future.”

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For more information on the four organizations and the work they are doing, please click on their links below:

Holocaust & Human Rights Education Center

World Jewish Congress

B’nai B’rith International

Anti-Defamation League

 

This post was created by Katie Grandelli (Intern at Peace Boat US)

“Peace is… Acceptance” Event featuring MIYAVI at the United Nations

On January 22nd, Peace Boat US staff and interns attended the Sixth Installment of the “Peace is…” event at the United Nations Headquarters in New York entitled “Peace is… Acceptance”. The event focused on refugees and the ways we can stand with them by raising awareness through music and art. It included a performance by Japanese musician MIYAVI, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, in collaboration with Japanese painter Fantasista Utamaro and Afghan refugee rapper Sonita Alizadeh. The event was hosted by Ambassador Koro Bessho, Permanent Representative of Japan to the UN, and co-sponsored by the UN Missions of Norway, Portugal, Indonesia, Germany, Costa Rica, Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland, Thailand, the Philippines, and Colombia.

The cultural event involved a special performance by MIYAVI and Sonita in which they both sang “Long Nights”, followed by two songs titled “The Others” and “What’s My Name” which were sung by MIYAVI. Throughout the performance, Fantasista Utamaro painted messages on the “Peace Wall” located behind the singers. At the end of the live performance, the audience had the special opportunity to write what peace meant for them in their native languages on the “Peace Wall”.

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During the show, MIYAVI spoke of his experience when he visited refugees in Lebanon and the positive impact he shared when he played music for them. Playing his guitar brought joy to people at the refugee camps and that experience showed him how to help raise awareness on the situation of refugees: through music. Along with Sonita, who became an activist against forced marriages after her escape from a marriage her parents had planned for her, and Fantasista Utamaro, the talented artists demonstrated how music and art can be utilized as a force for positive change. In addition to the music and art, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Ambassador Koro Bessho spoke briefly what Peace meant for them. An important and insightful thought from them was how not only does music and art provide a path to unite people and raise awareness on refugees, but how it can also heal people and help people/refugees readjust to life. Yesterday’s event confirmed that music and art can heal people; that peace is to create common ground for a common future.  

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Click the song title to listen to MIYAVI’s songs

“Long Nights”

“The Others” (UNHCR Version)

“What’s my Name”

You can listen to one of Sonita’s well-known song “Daughters for Sale” by clicking on the song title.

You can see Fantasista Utamaro’s art work by clicking on the link: https://www.fantasistautamaro.com/

 

This post was created by Amanda Davila (Intern at Peace Boat US)

One-on-One Event with Jane Connors, Assistant Secretary General

On Thursday, January 18, the Peace Boat US interns attended a One-on-One Meeting with the Assistant Secretary-General, Victims’ Rights Advocate for the United Nations, Jane Connors. This session was the first of the Winter Meetings organized by the UN DPI and NGO offices (Department of Public Information and Non Governmental Organization). Her newly created role in the UN is to deal with the sexual abuse and exploitation as perpetuated by UN staff, as well as to continue working with the Secretary General, António Guterres, to follow his initiatives for these issues.

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Connors spoke about the initiatives that she hopes to accomplish during her year in office. Her numerous plans all revolve around creating a roadmap for victims to realize their rights and including the entire international community in dialogue about this issue. She mentioned the role of youth and the power behind the incoming generation in combating sexual exploitation and abuse. One statement of Connors that stood out to the interns was that  “one allegation is one too many.”

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This post was created by Katie Grandelli (Intern at Peace Boat US)

UN PGA High Level Event on Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Agenda

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Peace Boat US participated in the recent UN PGA High-level Event on Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Agenda, where leaders from around the world gathered to discuss the challenges they face to mitigate climate change, making it clear that many nations are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure the well-being of the Earth today and in the future. The event provided an opportunity to highlight synergies between Climate Change and the 2030 Agenda and to gather representatives of Governments, International Organizations, the Private Sector and other stakeholders who are advancing solutions to implementation of the SDG and Climate Change agreements.

20170323_165436 (1)Agreeing on the fact that the planet should not warm by more than 2 degrees Celsius within the next century, it is the responsibility of each and every nation, developed and developing, to implement new practices in response to this ongoing environmental crisis. New, old and improved climate change action plans were brought to the audience’s attention through shared information on what has been tried before, what methods are actually working, visions of innovative approaches and predictions of a substantial amount of positive change. As was pointed out at the conference, global temperatures are rising each day, and we must remember that this affects us all. Temperature change is not limited to a particular part of the world, but contributes to all weather patterns globally.

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Many representatives from developing countries put emphasis on their need for committed support from developed ones. Every nation is to provide concrete ownership and share the responsibilities of implementation of the SDGs. Peace Boat supports the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and the message stated by Ambassador Sareer from the Permanent Mission of the Maldives to work towards solutions to climate change across all sectors and take significant steps to reach the goals of the Samoa Pathway outcome document. Greater improvement requires all forces to join together to help those vulnerable populations in creating new lifestyles that are “harmonious with Mother Earth”. Climate change not only affects the environment, but trickles down to other SDGs such as poverty, health care, and social and economic growth. Representatives from the Philippines and Nicaragua stressed this point in order to present the need for assistance when determining how to adapt its population to the change. Representatives from the Permanent Mission of Sri Llanka agreed that, “Adaption is the most suitable way to approach climate change”, while representatives from Morocco reassured everyone that their methods of reducing greenhouse gases and energy dependencies continue to work. They are willing to transfer this knowledge to others and to continue to spread awareness to conserve the environment.

The 2030 Agenda,  which “recognises that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge” (according to the UN Division for Sustainable Development), and the Paris Agreement, which “brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, with enhanced support to assist developing countries to do so” (according to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), influenced the direction of presentations for many speakers during the assembly. Representatives from Panama shared that what is done by other countries should benefit everyone. Integrating new policies, innovating strategies and assuring everyone’s commitment should start things off on the right track for a better future for the planet and its people. With Earth Day coming up in April, the shared perspectives were useful and necessary to spark innovative ideas globally and locally to protect the environment within our own communities.

This post was created and published by Sommer B. Flood (Intern from Peace Boat US). 

Creating Cultures of Peace: Art, Music, and Peace Museums

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IMG_8964How can the United Nations and NGOs unite people and cultures to make the world a better and more peaceful place? That was a central question posed at a UN Department of Public Information (DPI) briefing  titled, “Creating Cultures of Peace: Art, Music, and Peace Museums” that Peace Boat US attended on  February 23, 2017,

Dr. Joyce Aspel, author of Introducing Peace Museums and member of the International Network of Museums for Peace, explained that peace museums promote understanding of peace as a significant part of history and provide a space for people to come together.  She identified some of the peace museums around the world, including Pasos Peace Museum,  a virtual museum accessible to everyone in which different webpages act as “rooms” in the museum.  Lea Giddins, a representative of the museum, explained how peace museums can be used to connect, empower, and inspire peace builders.

Next, Michael Dinwiddie and Mercedes Ellington, granddaughter of Duke Ellington, spoke on behalf of the Duke Ellington Center for the Arts and how music can promote peace and intercultural understanding.  They discussed Duke Ellington’s role as a goodwill ambassador for the State Department and his worldwide tours which started in 1963.  He wrote over 3000 compositions inspired by his travels, including the famous “Far East Suite.”  Mercedes Ellington shared anecdotes from her time with him on his USSR tour and discussed how “arts come to the rescue.”  Finally, Lily Gray, Liaison officer at UNESCO, and Hajime Kishimori, Counselor of the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations, both talked about the role their institutions can play in supporting cultures of peace. Lily Gray discussed how culture and art can be drivers of sustainable development and mentioned some of UNESCO’s programs that emphasize them.  For example, UNESCO’s General and Regional Histories focus on scientific, cultural, and religious contributions (instead of battles, kings, and violence) that support global citizenship and conflict prevention.  Hajime Kishimori focused on the role governments can have in promoting art and cultures of peace.

Overall, it was a very interesting event that brought into question how we define peace and how we can foster it.   It fit well into Sustainable Development Goal #16 (Peace,Justice and Strong Institutions) as well as Peace Boat’s commitment to connecting people from different cultures to make a more peaceful world.

This post was created and published by Lindsey Sokol (Peace Boat US Intern).